(KTUV) Whether it’s because of a new flavor or a new texture, mealtime for some kids is simply not a positive experience. However, help is available and it’s called feeding therapy. Kids who struggle transitioning to new textures have a chance of developing oral aversion.
“Those are our kids who later on become really picky eaters,” says Kristin Brinker, pediatric speech and language pathologist at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital Riverton Rehab.
For some kids, a medical issue like reflux may be causing their dislike for food. These kids might cough, gag, or even choke while eating. If mealtime regularly lasts longer than 30-minutes, it is another sign feeding therapy might be able to help.
For Jessica Clark’s daughter Navy, a dislike for food began from the first bite.
“She would see a spoon and she didn’t want anything to do with it,” says Jessica.
The key was figuring out positive and fun ways to introduce foods. One strategy was to use baby crackers in place of a spoon.
“She’d try to use those in the purees just to try to get her used to that,” says Jessica.
The next step was looking for positive feeding cues and allowing navy to take control. Navy would hold the spoon and bowl and try to feed herself.
Brinker says enjoying food isn’t simply about eating it, the experience is just as important.
“We want our babies to get messy. We want them to experience all of the different aspects of food while they’re eating,” says Brinker.
Today, Navy has overcome many of her feeding difficulties. She now loves food and is a great eater.